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Going Barefoot Has Its Health Benefits

By Stephen R. Farris

If you're health conscious, then you should know that walking is a great way to get in some exercise. When we decide to incorporate a brisk, relaxing walk into our daily routine we're sometimes faced with choosing the right attire, especially in the area of shoes. Naturally, we want the most comfortable and durable shoes -- the best bang for the buck, so to speak.

And speaking of naturally, remember when you were a kid and tended to walk everywhere barefooted? I know I did. There were many summers my neighborhood friend and I would walk downtown to the YMCA barefooted. By the way, I grew up in Texas and that hot sun would literally melt the asphalt, yet here we were, walking as if it didn't bother (or was burning) the soles of our feet.

But those days faded fast and our parents had to shell out money for a variety of shoes -- school, athletic, casual and dress styles -- virtually ending our time of connecting with mother earth. 

Nowadays, if I were to venture outdoors barefooted it would feel very strange, if not painful when accidently walking over rocks or those hidden little trigs in the grass. Despite that, new studies show that it's a good idea to walk barefooted outdoors occasionally, but you do need to be careful. Some of the benefits of walking barefoot outdoors, around the house, or when exercising are:

  • Better control of your foot position when it lands on surfaces
  • Improved balance, proprioception, and body awareness that can help relieve pain
  • Better foot mechanics, often leading to better mechanics in the hips, knees and core
  • Aids in better control of the appropriate use of range of motion in the foot and ankle joints
  • Relief from improper fitting shoes and from some of the conditions that may have developed over time such as hammertoe and bunions for example
  • Stronger leg muscles that help support the lower back area

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should ditch those shoes all together, but doing things barefooted can be nice. 

Remember, when you start to feel pain in your feet, ankles, legs, or lower back, it might be time to check in with your local chiropractor such as the ones that can be found at The Joint Chiropractic. At The Joint, no appointment is necessary to consult with one of their licensed doctors of chiropractic medicine. They have more than 500 nationwide locations to choose from, so there's bound to be one near you!

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mt. Prospect, Ill.

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